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10 Must- See Feminist Indian Films at The 2023 Indian Film Festival of Melbourne Directed by Indian Women.

The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) has launched and runs until the 20th August 2023. There are countless films to watch but which films should you see? Well look no further, we’ve curated a special list for you.

Film and TV are a powerful medium to create change. As a community dedicated to amplifying South Asian women creatives, we’re stoked to see films focusing on women and important women’s issues at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2023.

We’ve worked with Monique Nair from IFFM to curate a list that would align with the values of Australian South Asian Centre’s members and community. We exist to amplify the voices of South Asian women creatives who are led by purpose and working to make a difference. These movies and documentaries are focused on women, women’s issues or directed by Indian women.

There is a list of all times and locations at the bottom of this article, organised based on dates.

IN CINEMAS – Directed by Indian Women 

  1. iTales (short films anthology) | Savita Singh, Pooja Shyam Prabhat, Rajshri Deshpande, Kutti Revathi, Madhumitha Venugopal
  2. Chhaad (The Terrace) | Indrani Chakrabarti
  3. To Kill a Tiger | Nisha Pahuja (Documentary)
  4. Wonder Women |  Anjali Menon
  5. Tora’s Husband | Rima Das
  6. Zwigato | Nandita Das 
  7. Footprints on Water | Nathalia Syam
  8. Be Kucheye Khoshbakht (And, Towards Happy Alleys) | Sreemoyee Singh
  9. Against the Tide | Sarvnik Kaur
  10. Nocturnal Burger | Reema Maya (short)

IN CINEMAS – Focused on women and non-binary leads

  1. Sanaa
  2. Fatima (Documentary)
  3. Ek Jagah Apni (A Place Of Our Own)
  4. Maagh (The Winter Within)
  5. Goldfish
  6. Shivamma

Can’t get to anything in person? Here’s our pick of the films online that you can watch online free for a limited period of time on IFFM website. Many area available until the end of the month, so be sure to jump online and watch them before it’s too late!


  1. Siya (Online opening film): A young girl from a rural village of North India decides to fight for justice after being raped by the powerful incumbent Member of the Legislative Assembly, thereby starting a movement against the vicious patriarchal system in the most populous state of the country.
  2. Koli Esru (Chicken Curry)
  3. Niharika (In the Mist)
  4. Our Odyssey is Red
  5. Neither a Girl Nor a Woman
  6. Expired Ethnic
  7. Rekha
  8. Hide and Seek
  9. Meenakshi
  10. Lakshmi

Synopses of films Directed by Indian women at Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IN CINEMAS) 

iTales – Anthology of five short films by Indian women filmmakers shot entirely on mobile phones.

To Kill a Tiger – Ranjit, a farmer in Jharkhand, India, takes on the fight of his life when he demands justice for his 13-year-old daughter, the victim of a brutal gang rape. In India, where a rape is reported every 20 minutes and conviction rates are less than 30 percent, Ranjit’s decision to support his daughter is virtually unheard of, and his journey unprecedented.

Wonder Women – A diverse ensemble of five pregnant women attend Sumana, Nandita’s prenatal class, as they embark on a journey of self-discovery, empathy, unlearning and nurturing friendships. , uncovering their true identities and finding solutions to deep-rooted issues.

Chhaad (The Terrace)  – Mitra, a passionate schoolteacher, loses her creative sanctuary when the shared terrace is locked. As her personal and professional life crumbles, she discovers a deeper crisis within herself during the process of writing her story.

Maagh (The Winter Within)- In Srinagar, Nargis searches for her missing husband but is eventually forced to return home, finding solace and a silent escape through weaving in the haunting winter of Kashmir.

Ek Jagah Apni (A Place Of Our Own) – Laila and Roshni, two trans women, are looking for a house after they are evicted from the place they rented. It soon becomes evident that their search for a home is also their ongoing search for a place in this society.

Goldfish – With help from a neighbourhood and a past she has shunned, a young woman returns home to deal with her mother’s dementia and the scars of her childhood.

Shivamma – Poverty-stricken Shivamma, from a remote village in north Karnataka, risks her daughter’s marriage by investing in a chain scheme, hoping to achieve success.

Fatima (documentary) forced into sex-trafficking at the Indo-Nepali border, defies traffickers, police, and societal norms to empower vulnerable children, becoming a beacon of hope in the face of darkness.

Sanaa – the story of a 28-year-old headstrong and ambitious woman working in Mumbai fighting an internal battle caused by unresolved trauma.

More details of additional films here.  here.  Keep reading for a for a full list organised by date and time. 

Panel Discussions and Q&A Special Screenings and IFFM Chats

There are also a number of exceptional Indian women who will be in Melbourne and partaking in the Q&A Special Screenings and IFFM Chats. Here’s our pick of panels to attend

  • Anjali Menon Join talented and remarkable director for a thoughtful and warm conversation about sisterhood, storytelling, and all things related to her film Wonder Women.
  • The Darlings Team on Family Violence, Patriarchy and Empowerment (Jasmeet K Reen, Vijay Varma, Gaurav Verma). Alicia Vrajlal, Journalist and Founder of Draw Your Box and Melbourne based Professor Manjula Datta O’Connor, author of Daughters of Durga will sensitively approach this dark reality, unpack representations of domestic violence, women, and relationships on our screens, and what cinema can do to spark urgent conversations and contribute positively. 
  • Bhumi Pednekar will speak on the role of cinema in sustainability and the climate crisis 
  • Shabana Azmi, a legend of world cinema will be in-conversation with critic Rajeev Masand, unpacking her illustrious career.
  • Rani Mukerji – The iconic Rani Mukerji will guide you through an exclusive conversation on craft, characters and the power of cinema – from her early breakthroughs in acclaimed movies to her latest hit film Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway.

FULL LIST Organised by Time and Dates, including locations. 

  1. iTales (short films anthology) – 13th August 4pm, CBD 
  2. Nocturnal Burger 4:00 PM, Sunday, 13 August, Melbourne CBD
  3. Chhaad (The Terrace) 9:15 PM, Sunday, 13 August, Melbourne CBD
  4. Be Kucheye Khoshbakht (And, Towards Happy Alleys) 7:00 PM, Sun, 13 Aug, Highpoint 
  5. Wonder Women 7:00 PM, Monday, 14 August, Docklands
  6. Zwigato, 7:00 PM, Wednesday, 16 August, Chadstone
  7. Footprints on Water 7:00 PM, Wednesday, 16 August, Highpoint
  8. Tora’s Husband 6:00 PM, Friday, 18 August, Docklands
  9. To Kill a Tiger – 6:30 PM, Saturday, 19 August, Highpoint
  10. Against the Tide 4:00 PM, Sunday. 20 August, Docklands

IN CINEMAS – Focused on women and non-binary leads

  1. Sanaa 9:00 PM, Sunday, 13 August, Docklands
  2. Maagh (The Winter Within) 4:00 PM, Sunday, 13 August, Chadstone
  3. Goldfish 7:00 PM, Tuesday, 15 August, Melbourne CBD
  4. Fatima 7:15 PM, Wednesday, 16 August, Docklands
  5. Shivamma 6:30 PM, Saturday, 19 August, Chadstone
  6. Ek Jagah Apni (A Place Of Our Own) 9:15 PM, Saturday, 19 August, Docklands

We’ll also be running giveaways for free tickets to the film festival, so be sure to  follow us on Instagram.

If you’ve found this list useful, please consider becoming a member of Australian South Asian Centre or donating. We are a volunteer-led group of South Asian women who are committed to representation and making a difference across the arts and entrepreneurship space.

Bengali Films Directed by Women  |  Assamese Films Directed by Women |  Hindi Films Directed by Women |  Marathi Films Directed by Women  | Kannada Films Focused on Women |  Urdu Films Focused on Women | Kashmiri Films Focused on Women | South Asian Women Directors | South Asian Women in TV & Film

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